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Pakistan: 250 Christian families driven from their homes


More than 250 Christian families have been threatened and thrown out from their homes in the village Chak 31 in Khanewal district, in southern Punjab.

A report drawn up by two human rights groups said: "What happened in South Punjab reflects the increase of violence and abuses against religious minorities in Pakistan" and "recalls the serious episode of the attack on Joseph Colony, a Christian area of Lahore, which happened two months ago".

In the aftermath of the recent elections, the 'Human Rights Commission of Pakistan' and 'Organization for Development and Peace' have launched an urgent appeal "to all parties: politics, political parties, civil society, religious organizations, in order to operate actively to mitigate religious intolerance and promote social cohesion."

The appeal was launched "in the interests of the country and not only for the protection of the rights of minorities."Each of the families put to flight by Islamic extremists had about six people, therefore at the moment the faithful without a home are more than 1,500. The escape was the solution chosen to avoid a massacre.

The episode started with a 'provocation'. About 15 days ago, some Muslims accused a Christian businessman, Asher Yaqoob, owner of a small grocery store, and his Christian customers of having disrespectful attitudes towards Islam, inciting the faithful of the nearby village, "Chak 30" , all Muslims.

Christians called the police, but a police officer, instead of protecting them, became the leader of a crowd of 60 Muslims who began to beat anyone they encountered and started destroying homes and shops. Clashes followed and one man was shot and killed. At the news of the death, the crowd threatened a mass attack and set fire to the entire village. The Christian families had no choice but to flee immediately. In the clashes 20 Christians were arrested by the police. The two organizations - the HRCP and ODP reported everything to the police in Multan and have asked the intervention of the civil and religious authorities to restore peace between the two villages.

Source: Fides

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